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Old 04-22-2013, 11:47 PM   #1
Bigjack68
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Default High Alcohol Mix?

Hi folks im starting my second batch of cider and would like to go for a high alcohol(10%or better) result that doesn't taste harsh. The home brew guy near me suggested Lalvin EC 1118 yeast. He said that with enough sugar I ccould probably get as high as 20% ABV. Any suggestions/comments???



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Old 04-23-2013, 12:08 AM   #2
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He's right- with EC1118 you can easily go to 18%+.

Here's the thing, though- it'll taste like rocket fuel and take about 2-3 years to age out enough to be drinkable.

Shooting for 10% even will make a "wine" flavor and not "cider" flavor. It'll be drier, crisper, and much more of a white wine flavor than a 5-6% cider. Going up to 11-12% would make an apple wine.



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Old 04-23-2013, 12:31 AM   #3
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20% would probably end up being harsh. Even a long aging time might not mellow that much alcohol. Recently I had a petit mansang that was about a year old...no additional sugars added (25.5 Brix at harvest!), it was a beautiful wine, but a nice little warm alcohol zing.

Take into consideration how much the yeast is going to attenuate and how much control you will have over the process. These big wineries that take a wine from 1.110 down to below 1.000. They cold ferment with Glycol Jacketed Fermenters and their process is a science. If you don't baby a big wine...feed it well, control the chemistry and control the temps...it's going to peel the enamel off your teeth.

If you are looking for higher ABV cider without being harsh...you are probably going to need at least a year of aging to get it to mellow and come back around.

Just my 2¢.

You could try edwort's apfelwein:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/man-i-love-apfelwein-14860/

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Old 04-23-2013, 06:06 PM   #4
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+1 on the aging comments! You're going to have a drink that will sit in the jug for a few months and then in the bottle for 6 months more.

All my ciders are between 12-15%. They take a good 10 months before you start to get the apple flavor back.

EC-1118 is basically if all you want is more more more alcohol and don't care about residual flavor. If you just want a 12% ABV apple wine that has a good dry taste, use either Red Star Champagne yeast or Lalvin D-47. The D-47 will get more of the residual fruit sweetness back with some aging and the RS Champagne will leave it nice and dry.

Plan on adding 1 lb of sugar per gallon of juice, so for a 5 G batch buy a 5lb bag of sugar and disolve it all in 2 gallons of Warmed not boiled juice on the stove. I do a mix of white and brown sugar, usually 3lbs W 2lbs B. You'll need to leave it in the primarry for 4-6 weeks and then rack into a 2ndary. Leave in 2ndary for as long as you can stand it, I usually go 3 months in the 2ndary, and when I rack I top off the carboy right to the neck (with about 3 inches of head space) with more fresh apple juice. With these yeasts too you'll get a much cleaner taste if you keep the ferment temp down around 60*-64*F...higher than that and you'll get strong hot alcohol flavors that are undesireable. Once you've bottled they'll taste like a cocktail, don't worry, give them at least 3-5 months in the bottle and the apple flavor will come back...the longer you let it bulk age in the carboy, the faster the bottle age will happen.

Here's my basic, straight and easy apple wine recipe I think you should start with and then experiment from there. 5 gal batch, scale up or down as needed.

Primarry:
4 1/2 G juice, 5 lbs of sugar (3lbs white, 2 lbs light brown) OG should be around 1.092-1.098
Lalvin D-47 yeast
5 teaspoons of fermax yeast nutrient (1t per gallon, this is helpful with cider)
Let ferment at 62* for 6 weeks (if you're up around 67 it may only take 4 weeks)

FG could be as low as .992 but should definately be below 1.000

- rack to:

Secondary:
top off with more apple juice, 30 rasins and two big cinnamon sticks (the cinn sticks will help cut some of the acidity, the rasins will help keep some small amounts of sugar in there so the yeast will stay active, this means you won't have to re-pitch if you want to sparkle it)

Let sit for 8-12 weeks. if it hasn't cleared by then, rack to tertiarry and let sit for an additional month, top off with juice and 30 more rasins.

If you want to sparkle it, bottle it with 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar in a 12 oz bottle, or a heaping teaspoon in a 750 ml champagne bottle. Otherwise bottle as is for a still cider. Let bottle condition for 3 months. If you sparkle it it could take up to a month and a half before it's fizzy, don't open in two weeks and be dissapointed if it's not sparkling, with these higher alcohol recipe's waiting is the key.

Good luck!

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice folks!!!! I'll let ya know how it turns out.
The only thing that has me concerned is temp. Here in PA its starting to warm up and once summer kicks in i really cant see keeping the primary under 75. Any advice???

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Old 04-23-2013, 08:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjack68 View Post
Thanks for the advice folks!!!! I'll let ya know how it turns out.
The only thing that has me concerned is temp. Here in PA its starting to warm up and once summer kicks in i really cant see keeping the primary under 75. Any advice???
No, that should work out fine. I make more wine in the summer, because most wine yeast strains do fine at 70-75+ temperatures. You don't want to run a hot ferment, but room temperature should work out well.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:49 AM   #7
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You can also keep it in a garage or basement to try and keep the temps down, or keep the carboy right next to the window with a paper grocery bag over it to keep the light out. Don't worry as much about the temp. Yooper's got a lot more experience with wine than I do, I'd trust her advice. I'm just basing on what I've done over the years and I'm much farther north than you and have a basement I can brew in.

This fall get the apple cider right from the orchard, you get a better product and you can ferment it over the winter.



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